Step 4: Courage – Reflections On The 12 Steps Amidst Coronavirus

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Coronavirus has instigated changes throughout most aspects of daily living, but the Twelve Steps of A.A. offer a design for living which is applicable in all circumstances. Each week we will be sharing staff reflections upon one of our recovery steps, as it relates to a corresponding principle. Previously, we’ve covered Step One,  Step Two, and Step Three. This week, Wilson S., Matt R., and Mason M., share on Step Four.

Step Four

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

When I first encountered the Fourth Step it was simply and entirely a matter of doing something I didn’t want to do. I wasn’t sure why I didn’t want to thoroughly review my life, and I wasn’t sure why I was so opposed to writing my findings on paper. I just knew I wasn’t interested.

Fortunately for me, living was and had been a miserable experience. I’d tried my own tactics for improving what it felt like to be me, and they had not worked. So, I did another thing I didn’t want to do. Another thing someone who liked living, but once had not, suggested I should do. Fortunately for me, my experience of living improved.

Now, today, in quarantine and uncertainty, application of the Fourth Step looks a bit different. I think of the line in one of our books that says, ‘Nearly every serious emotional problem can be seen as a case of misdirected instinct.’

All humans have instincts, and while we need them, we suffer when they’re out of whack. And for me, with the ‘bottle’ ever-present, that’s dangerous. The volatile and contracting economy threatens my financial security. Quarantine killed dating and I want to date. An undetermined end-date for this suspended living has chopped and blended my emotions. My instincts are out of whack.

So, though it seems as though a personal inventory has nothing to offer for quarantine or pandemic, it’s part of my solution. If my instincts are off, I’m ignorantly passing pain to others while protecting pain for myself. And unless I inventory what it is that’s too ‘on’ or ‘off,’ I will continue to do so. But if I’m willing to look, then I can be shown, and if I’m shown, corrective Help is possible.

-Wilson S.


After completing my fourth step I finally understood what courage means to me. The process of sitting down and recounting all of my resentments, fears and sexual misconduct over the years brought up a lot of feelings that I had learned to avoid. The courage came every time I hit a low spot while writing my inventory. Picking up that pen and continuing with the work taught me that although things may seem hard I must keep moving forward in life.

During these uncertain times, the dedication that I put into my fourth step can be applied to my life. While everyone in the world are losing their minds, I can have the courage to do the things right in front of me. No matter how large the task, I am able to “pick up my pen” and continue working on my sobriety and helping others around me anyway I can.

Courage was something I could only fantasize about in active addiction. The person I was then would not be as peaceful as I am now during this pandemic. I am grateful for Step Four. It was difficult to look at myself in that light, but it was the truth of who I was. The courage I gained by completing a through Forth Step is one of the things that made me who I am today.

-Matt R


Having turned my will and my life over to the care of God, what was I next to do? Well, according to my sponsor, this meant I had agreed to continue on with step four. I wasn’t particularly keen on the idea of making a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself. See, in my eyes, I was someone who had been a victim of bad circumstances and associating with the wrong people. It was everybody’s else’s fault, surely not mine!
Step four was the beginning of the end for me of being a chronic victim. With the guidance of my sponsor, I was given the ability for the first time to see that I played a role in all of my resentments, fears, and the pain I caused in sexual relationships.
Today, if I’m willing, I still get the opportunity to write inventories and go over them with my sponsor. They allow me to see the reality of my situation for what it is, not some made up story my brain wants to believe.
-Mason M.

 


Are you struggling with addiction recovery while in quarantine?
Everything may feel upside down, but recovery must continue. We’ve reached out to our alumni to encourage them and make suggestions, and you should benefit, too. Here’s how.

Are you unable to figure out Online Recovery Meetings?
It can be daunting trying to set up a camera, mic, or even just a computer. But you don’t have to. Here a way to join an online recovery meeting without hassle. 

How is Discovery Place responding to COVID-19?
While the disease of alcoholism and the consequences of addiction continue to threaten millions of lives, we’ve taken guidance from the CDC and implemented measures to ensure the safety of our guests.

Have questions about our recovery programs?
You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call, let’s talk: 1-800-725-0922.